President Biden received communion in Rome amid debate in the U.S. about whether the president’s support for abortion access should preclude him from participating in the rite.
The Associated Press reported Biden received communion on Saturday at St. Patrick’s Church, which is a part of Pope Francis’s archdiocese.
The president and first lady sat in the back of the church where they were acknowledged at the end of the service and prayed for.
Rev. Joe Ciccone, the vice rector of St. Patrick’s Church, told the AP Biden’s pro-abortion stance was not an issue at the church and he was happy to have the president attend.
“Communion is what brings us together in the Lord. None of us are pure and perfect. We struggle through life. We’re all saints and sinners,” Ciccone said.
“And when you’re a public figure you have to make certain decisions, especially in a democracy, on behalf of more than just your own personal feelings,” he added.
Some Bishops in the U.S. have spoken out against Biden receiving communion because his abortion stance conflicts with the official stance of the church.
After a meeting on Friday, Biden said the pope called him a “good Catholic” and said he should continue receiving communion.
The topic of abortion did not come up in the meeting, according to Biden.